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Costa Rica

Road Scholar in Costa Rica: Celebrating 50 Years of Adventures

Program No. 21792RJ
Celebrate Road Scholar’s 50th anniversary in Costa Rica as you choose your own adventure to learn about its natural history, wildlife and thrilling activities.

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At a Glance

It’s no secret that Costa Rica is home to some of the most incredible natural wonders and diverse species in the world — in fact, that’s one of the biggest reasons that we love to learn there. In celebration of our 50th Anniversary, join us on an inspiring adventure in the heart of Costa Rica that offers you the opportunity to discover its landscapes and inhabitants according to your interests and pace. Whether you love natural history or hope to add to your birding life list, there’s sure to be great learning and camaraderie as you explore San José and Sarapiqui.
Activity Level
Choose Your Pace
Choose from two or more options of activity levels to find your perfect pace.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Choose your area of study and activity comfort level as you learn about the unique features of the rain forest.
  • Sample fresh pineapple at a local plantation, enjoy a lesson on making artisanal chocolate and learn about the cultivation of hearts of palm.
  • Enjoy a boat ride or rafting expedition along the Sarapiqui River, and join naturalists for opportunities to observe wildlife — including Costa Rica’s many bird species.

General Notes

Participants will split into groups based on their chosen program theme (selected at time of enrollment). Theme 1: Natural History Focus/Keep the Pace. Theme 2: Natural History Focus/Easy Going. Theme 3: Birding/Outdoor: Spirited. Theme 4: Outdoor Adventure/Outdoor: Spirited.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
National Geographic Costa Rica
by Christopher P. Baker
This stylish, informative and up-to-date travel resource features 200 photographs, many maps and good information on the country's history, nature and culture.
Coffee and Power, Revolution and the Rise of Democracy in Central America
by Jeffery M. Paige
Panoramic in scope, this scholarly history examines the emerging democracies of Central America and especially the political impact on powerful families who control coffee production.
Costa Rica Adventure Map
by National Geographic
A double-sided map at a scale of 1:500,000.
Tropical Plants of Costa Rica
by Willow Zuchowski
Organized by habitat, this photo guide to 400 species has chapters on popular destinations, including Monteverde and Tortuguero.
Costa Rica, A Traveler's Literary Companion
by Barbara Ras
A wonderful introduction to the character of the people, culture and land, this anthology brings together 26 stories by Costa Rican writers.
Costa Rica's National Parks and Preserves: A Visitor's Guide
by Joseph Franke and Joseph Dimijian
A first-rate source for the Costa Rican park system. Profiles 40 parks and preserves and their distinct tropical habitats. Franke provides regional history as well as tips on what to pack.
Culture Smart! Costa Rica
by Jane Koutnik
A guide to local customs, etiquette and culture.
The Birds of Costa Rica
by Richard Garrigues, Robert Dean (Illustrator)
Built for the field, this great guide includes multiple illustrations for 820 species of birds.
Tropical Nature
by Adrian Forsyth, Ken Miyata
A lively, lucid portrait of the tropics as seen by two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists. Its 17 marvelous essays introduce the habitats, ecology, plants and animals of the Central and South American rainforest
The Penguin History of Latin America
by Edwin Williamson
Williamson traces 500 years of history from the time of Columbus and the Spanish Conquest to the present day. An excellent and very readable history in a compact size.
Mammals of Costa Rica
by Fiona Reid
A palm-sized guide to 65 native mammals with handsome full-color illustrations and helpful descriptions. Includes a map, viewing tips and a checklist.
Lonely Planet Costa Rican Spanish
by Lonely Planet
A pocket guide to understanding idioms, slang and Spanish as it is spoken by the Ticos.
Neotropical Rainforest Mammals: A Field Guide
by Louise H. Emmons & François Feer
This beautifully illustrated field guide contains all you need to know about rainforest mammals in Central and South America. It has color plates, range maps and detailed descriptions of each animal, including information about their biology, behavior and natural habitats.
Lonely Planet Costa Rica Country Guide
by Lonely Planet
Regional maps, detailed site information and general tips will be useful to travelers of all budgets and interests.
Lonely Planet Phrasebooks: Latin American Spanish
by Roberto Esposto
This portable phrasebook provides a useful mix of everyday phrases, words and expressions used in different Spanish speaking countries in Latin America. Learn the nuances of the Spanish language as it is spoken in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile.
The Ticos
by Richard Biesanz
This insightful, fact-filled portrait of the Costa Rican people accessibly explores their culture, history and society.
A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica
by Gary Stiles and Alexander Skutch
Illustrated descriptions of the major habitats, color plates and maps, help to identify more than 850 species of birds in Costa Rica.
Costa Rican Wildlife
by Pocket Naturalist
Put it in your pocket! This handy, fold-up card includes color illustrations of dozens of typical birds, mammals and reptiles.
The Wildlife of Costa Rica, A Field Guide
by Fiona Reid, Twan Leenders, Jim Zook, Robert Dean
Designed to take along on a walk in the forest, this latest compact Zona Tropical guide includes 450 of the most common, interesting and charismatic mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods that you are likely to encounter in the field. Each gets an exquisite full color illustration.

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.